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Posts Tagged ‘quilting from photograph’

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I am going to be unable to attend next week’s Monday art quilt work group meeting, and so with a few free days, I jumped right in to Chapter Three on my own.

image, n. A reproduction of the form of a person or object (from Latin imago, from the root of imitari: to imitate).

Chapter Three: Inspiration from Images chatted about the use of photography in quilt design, going into computer manipulation, using images as an inspiration, and how to draw/quilt from a photograph.

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The book walked through the steps to sketch a photograph, paying attention to value. Then, the exercise at the end was assembling a pear from different values. Catching on to the idea, I went searching for an image in my photo library to use as my mosaic block for the month.

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I chose a photo of a California poppy, that I took while an AmeriCorps intern at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Here, I deviated from the Art Quilt Workbook. I remembered an article in the Quilting Arts magazine, a year or so ago, on Portrait Quilts, from photo to fabric, by Lea McComas. I looked through my magazines and soon found the article I was looking for. Here, Lea talks about using photoshop to posterize the photo to group similar values, instead of hand sketching like the Art Quilt Workbook suggests.

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Printing out my posterized image, I traced around the major shapes of color in the poppy. I ended up with five values: dark orange, medium orange, orange, golden orange, and yellow. Taking fusible webbing, I traced each shape from the poppy to the fusible webbing, leaving space between each to cut out.

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I gave each shape a letter to mark which color it should be, and a number so I wouldn’t get shapes mixed up. Note: since I was intending this for a mosaic, each shape was independent. If I had wanted a more realistic shape like the pear, I would have had to allow for space for overlapping.

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I selected five fabrics to represent each value from my stash of dyed fabrics. I ironed the pieces of fusible webbing onto the fabrics, and then cut out each shape.

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This winter is particularly cold, and I reveled in the warm colors of the poppy. Then, following my original pattern, I started to lay out the pieces on a green background fabric.

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One interesting challenge I ran into was translating the layout of the shapes to a mosaic. I didn’t think of it to start with, but once I started laying out the pieces, the dilemma became clear. In a mosaic, there is space between each shape. My pieces of fabric were cut in shapes that were meant to be touching each other, as in the original photograph. As I lay out the mosaic, sections became larger and suddenly pieces didn’t fit. Some needed to be longer, some shorter. I fudged it and made it work by trimming pieces as needed. If I did another, I’d want to think about how to plan for this from the beginning. One idea would be to make the image larger than intended, then when tracing the shapes, making them smaller, to allow for the space in between.

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After I liked the layout of the poppy, I fused it in place, and then started on the background. In the original photo, all I saw was a jumble of green shapes and colors, and I wanted to imitate that in my mosaic. I selected a smattering of green scraps, trying to replicate the range of colors in the photo from light to dark.

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It is such a joy creating these mosaic tiles, I can hardly wait for next month to come around!

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A shout out to a few (not all) of the Cape Ivy ladies: Vanessa, me, Tanya, Melissa, and Catherine. Looking back, how lucky we were to spend our days outdoors, rain or shine, in the beauty of the coast.

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